WAVE TWO: Networking IN To A Company of Interest

JigSaw-partnershipWhat is the most critical skill to one’s  CAREER success – yet also the most elusive? Time management? Discipline?  Professionalism?  Reliability?  Yes, these are all desired personal traits and work habits, but rarely SEARCHED for.

How about the more functionally significant skills, like Strategic thinking? Decision making? Business acumen or intuitive ability to forecast and budget effectively?


This week’s Session, Thursday, February 14th… Turning Opportunities Into INTERVIEWS: Networking IN to a targeted organization


bob-maher-4587-editNo. While these are all important, they pale in comparison to communication skills, BOTH personal and professional: Attentive listening, asking relevant questions, showing empathy, and knowing how to handle difficult communications are the most critical to career success.  They are vital to building healthy relationships, exchanging ideas, sharing feelings, gaining buy-in, setting clear expectations, and working collaboratively.

The lack of these skills is at the root of most conflicts, employee performance issues, failed projects, and lost opportunities…JOBS????

You can be a subject matter expert, but if you can’t communicate your ideas, your ideas are of little value. You can have a great value proposition, branding, for the future, but if you can’t get people to buy into it, your vision doesn’t matter. You can be a masterful manager, but if you can’t reassure or empathize with your clients, they will seek help elsewhere.

You might have a skill set/experience to sell, but if you can’t articulate a compelling value proposition, you won’t find many takers. Your ability to communicate determines your success at work or home.

How do you rate your current communication’s skills?  And, more importantly, how do you improve them to enhance job search or career transition SUCCESS?

A famous coach, of Green Bay Packer fame, spoke frankly when he said, “Perfect practice makes perfect.” Mr. Lombardi’s intent was CLEAR. He wanted his players to concentrate on PRACTICE, drilling on the “little things”, the basics, so that they became instinct during the heat of real life.

Such is productive mindset during any career transition, specifically related to your ability to relate your well positioned “story” to others, answer questions effectively, conduct productive negotiations, and, fine tune your personal marketing skills.

THE BASICS

So what are those basics that will allow you to effectively network to identify appropriate opportunities, and then secure the requisite INTERVIEWS in order to “close the deal?”

  1. “Tell me about yourself.”  Practice your two minute drill every chance you get…. it’s the fundamental building material of your communication strategy–your verbal personal marketing collaterals!
  2. Practice your exit and qualification statements… most all potential employers and networking contacts will want to know your current situation and why you are available.
  3. Practice answering both common and tough questions… including pre-offer negotiation tactics. The most asked question during career transition is, “Tell me about yourself.” Appropriate use of your two-minute drill and related verbal strategies, your “verbal collaterals,” is a key ingredient to personal marketing…
  • A verbal resume… A tightly focused, upbeat telling of “your story” told in a high impact two minute format. With practice, can be easily personalized to your listener.
  • An “elevator pitch”… A succinct summary of your qualifications for a specifically positioned function or opportunity. With practice, can become quite spontaneous.
  • A qualification statement that can be used in introducing yourself

Let’s not forget a couple of additional ‘collaterals’ that will help you round out your ability to ‘get the word out’ and serve as evidence of your qualifications.

  1. Brag bytes… Wordcraft various collections of words, phrases and sentences to capture memorable moments or accomplishments–the best you have to offer. “…saved 80% cost-perhire…” Used in MSWord, ‘Quick Parts’ can be quite efficient when building high impact correspondence as well.
  2. Personal Portfolio… Your collection of certificates, examples of work, reference letters, etc that can bring life and interest (not to mention PROOF) to your story.
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Your Strategic, CAREER Plan That Works Effectively in Job Search

Compass-seaLWhile involved in ‘the challenging waters’ of career transition, the same chaotic, jobless, trying times are very productive times. Don’t waste them by floundering with lack of focus and direction, falling into the dark, depressive attitude of distractions and, worst of all, inaction…


NEXT Week’s Session, Thursday, January 31st… Developing Your Personal Marketing Plan; Being fully prepared to conduct an effective job search


chalk1When we are employed, we tend to function under the guidance of our employer’s business plan, or, more specifically, our job description. Our ‘routine’ is defined by:

  • Personal accountability to a labyrinth of responsibilities, some structured— some not structured at all—but all contributing to productive work activities…
  • We create productivity and efficiency with our sense of time management…
  • And as ‘top talent’ professionals, we often take initiative, make process improvements, and contribute to the Company’s growth.

So, why not recreate all that with OUR OWN PLAN, a Personal Marketing Plan, to move toward job satisfaction, commitment, and appropriate compensation, for the rest of our careers… including any current, short term job search?

If an individual is under-employed, seeking a change, or actually unemployed, they must be visible to potential employers who are seeking their services. Creating this visibility is strategic, personal market planning and execution—in can be marketability without rejection!

And, employed or not, Modify and improve your Personal Market Plan’s implementation model as needed… As you move through your career transition or ‘job search campaign,’ make adjustments as you would a business model.

Personal Marketing is a contact sport.

Following the first three steps of our 12-Step Process, it may feel like you’re ready to take on the job market… but, THE Careerpilot encourages you to be totally prepared before you do.

Getting The Most Out of Social Media: Task#1 Your LinkedIn Profile

chalk1THE Careerpilot’s high TECH-HIGH Touch philosophy comes into play with the explosive growth of business professionals using social networks to build relationships, meet new contacts, and market themselves.  While the Internet provides many choices, diving into the virtual meet-and-greet can represent a real challenge.  Which one is worthy of your start-up investment: learning curve time and actual ROI of your efforts…

Where to begin? THE Careerpilot encourages a choice that reasonably assures one’s confidentiality, has a multitude of useful applications, and can serve as your focal point of networking decisions.  A terrific launching site for such an effort is LinkedIn.


THIS Week’s session, Thursday, January 24th… A LinkedIn Primer: Task #1 Your Profile, a discussion to help you make the push-pull decision in creating your digital footprint


Pilot OnboardJoining a network like LinkedIn is simple, but turning it into a powerful networking tool takes a bit of savvy. Here’s a start at how to set up a profile and put it to work — without HIGH TECH, social-networking anxiety.

Plan to spend a few hours simply exploring the site and its many applications… Your first goal is to establish your profile and begin developing your network. Then make time to check in at least once a week to see what everyone is up to.

TASK #1… The Evolution of a Compelling Profile

Before you connect to others, you must first set up a profile page at http://www.linkedin.com. While your page will detail your work history, don’t assume you can copy and paste your resume and be done with it. Your profile page should reflect your professional interests, passions, and ambitions at this point in your career.  It becomes the core of this high tech, written collateral.

As you proceed, keep your goal in mind…

·         Do you want to have that fully optimized, SEO-centric magnet that attracts interested parties TO you?  -OR-

·         Do you want that terrific, user-friendly home page and profile that is easy for a reader to navigate?  -OR-

·         Do you want your profile and homepage to be appealing to both?

A checklist of things to include:

  1. A picture. It’s been said that, “People do business with people.”
  2. A specific and high impact “headline” with keywords relevant to your industry… your headline follows you around through several of the interactive applications.
  3. Preferred contact method and data… At the bottom of your profile, you can let people know how you want to be contacted — through LinkedIn, by e-mail, or over the phone.
  4. Desired information, networking “targets… What you want to be contacted about… At the bottom of your profile, you can select interests like reference requests, consulting offers, or career opportunities. Be sure to update your profile to stay in synch with your career.

…and don’t overlook the “power” of recommendations… start thinking of who you might want to encourage to endorse you and your services.  Job seekers: your references are a great start!

The LinkedIn site will walk you through filling in the blanks, but you’ll want to think ahead about two areas:

Positioning Yourself

Just like on a GREAT RESUME, directly underneath your name will be a short headline of four or five words. More than anything else in your profile, these words are how people find and define you.

Are you seeking to connect mainly with others in your field and industry? Then a simple, title-oriented headline like “Senior Product Development Director at The XYX Corporation” is best. Are you seeking to branch out into other areas? “Leader of High-Performing Engineering Projects” alerts others quickly to the value you would bring to an organization. Regardless of how you phrase your headline, make sure to use keywords that will help others find you.

Be Clear on What You’ve Done, and What You Want to Do…

Whether you are an active job seeker, or simply using LinkedIn to extend the reach of your personal marketing plan, POSITIONING yourself clearly is the epicenter of efficient networking… just as if you were beginning to launch an active JOB search to implement your Personal Marketing Plan!

When listing your past job experiences, use verbs as much as possible. Show what you’re passionate about, and what you’ve learned from each job. Consider listing “non-jobs” you’ve done, like chairing a conference or leading a panel.

The Ghost of Holidaze Past

happynewyearsmalltolargeThe holidays are a fun time to share gifts, visit with friends and family, take a break from work, and, let’s hope, relax. The trouble is that they are over fairly quickly. And once those days are over, people return to their regular routines, which now seem dull, or worse, depressing.

The biggest difficulty in getting back to the disciplined grind of job search is seeing the rewards and joy in what we do every day.


This Week’s Session, Thursday, January 10th:  Achieving CareerFIT,  an exploration of the assessment process


chalk1The contrast between ‘happy holidaze’ and ‘disciplined job search’ can be dehabilitating if we think about it that way. People underestimate how exhausting even happy holidays are and how much rest we need to recover… The holiday hangover is real… Don’t expect to be 100% productive on your first day back at it.

Once people get some rest over the weekend after the first week back, the fatigue should ease up significantly. Be aware of the signs that you may be overworked or over-stressed. These include uncharacteristically negative thoughts and feelings, as well as not finding time for or no longer looking forward to things you used to enjoy.

Burnout is a serious issue and can lead to severe depression and even suicidal ideation if left unaddressed. Some of the physical symptoms include heart palpitations, gastrointestinal issues, and excessive weight loss or gain. But you don’t have to experience any of these.

Back in school, we used to refer to the time between Christmas break and St. Patrick’s Day as ‘the dark ages.’  On ‘the job search calendar,’ this is actually the most productive time of the year.

With some effort and a few tricks, you can make it through this stressful transition period right after the holidays and prevent it from dragging out.

1. Think of time as an investment

We spend so much time getting ready for the holidays and then they are over in just a week, which can be disappointing. The best way to deal with that feeling is to think about the holiday preparation as an investment:  The time you spend decorating, buying gifts, and making plans is really an investment in creating a special experience for you and yours that will continue to pay dividends long after the holidays are over. Like all investments, sometimes it doesn’t pay off in the way we hoped, but we can rest in the knowledge that we invested ourselves in something personally meaningful.

2. Don’t expect perfection

It’s important to have compassion for yourself and others about the transition back and not expect perfection.  You may want to disclose too many personal stories, giving out a lot more than just professional information.  If you want to keep things more professional, express empathy, and gently redirect your networking dialog to work related matters.

3. Know it’s unnatural to simply switch off from the “happiness of the season”

In a way, it is unnatural for people to completely compartmentalize their lives when they walk in or out of the disciplined structure of productive and efficient job search activity. While appropriate boundaries are important, it is unhealthy to stuff thoughts and emotions down or deny them just because the clock says it is time; finding that balance can be a real challenge for some.

Realistically, it takes a couple of weeks to really get back into a regular routine… People spend the last 30 to 90 days of the year winding down and letting go of all their good habits… It’s going to take time to re-establish healthy behaviors and get back on track.

4. Use technology with purpose

It’s not about permanently switching off your computer or television and throwing out your smartphone. Absolutes may not be the answer.  Instead, it can be helpful to think about how you choose to use social media and other available technologies… what purpose you want it to serve for you.  Is it serving that purpose?

If not — and especially if it takes more away from you then you get out of it — it might be time to be more intentional about media consumption and only use it for the purpose you want.

5. Give yourself a ramp-up period

“Maybe use a couple of days to figure out your new goals and professional expectations for this year,” Taylor said. “Let yourself slowly (but steadily) get back into your routine.” You can burn out if you try to jump back in too quickly, so take one task at a time and set a rhythm for yourself, she added.

6. Stay away from unmotivated people

They can be contagious… If you’re around folks who haven’t gotten back into the swing of things, it’s easier to follow suit. They may actively be telling you that ‘there’s always tomorrow’ or ‘just start on a Monday,’ or it may just be something you feel is easier when no one else around you is moving forward. Avoid these people for a while, if you can.

Network and develop your network with employed people.

7. Go on short walks

After the holidays, our minds might wander and we might be thinking about places we’d rather be or things we’d rather be doing than staying engaged in SMART jo search activities. By spending just five minutes quietly focusing on your breath, you can bring a sense of calmness and clarity to your day and increase attention to your work-at-hand.

8. Exercise

THE CareerPilot recommends regular exercise — and especially outdoor exercise if the weather permits…  It helps regulate levels of cortisol, the “stress” hormone, and adrenaline. It can be very effective at getting our bodies and moods regulated again for countless reasons.  If you haven’t had a regular practice…START ONE!

9. Be mindful of the good times ahead

Remembering the good memories from the holidays, while also being mindful of the good times in the coming weeks, months, and in the new year can be helpful in beating the post-holiday blues. Being stuck in the past makes a person less open to and appreciative of the next big thing that may come along.

Physically active people are also more productive and motivated in all areas of their lives.  You can get more energy, and the same chemicals released from an antidepressant medication, when you’re working out.

10. Practice gratitude

Practicing gratitude is very helpful but not in a hit-and-run way… It is more helpful if a person spends some time reflecting on why he or she is grateful and how it is meaningful.  Spending time regularly practicing gratitude rewires the brain by gradually shifting what we pay attention to and are aware of.

You get bonus points if you express your gratitude in depth to another person and build it into your home or job search dialog.

Accountable To Whom And For WHAT?

happynewyearsmalltolargeThe leading cause of long job searches is low marketability or like-ability…Rather it is the lack of ACCOUNTABILITY to appropriate time management and regular implementation of productive activities.  That said, what are YOU going to DO about it?

At the end of the day, the significant developmental issue, here, is to develop your own sense of SELF-Accountability… it really doesn’t matter whether you do this as part of a team, or part of a partnership, or even by yourself if you have the prerequisite knowledge, self awareness, and DISCIPLINE.


This Week’s Session, Thursday, January 3rd at 8:45 AM… UNDERSTANDING The OTHER Job Market…An exploration of why activity in this parallel marketplace is critical to overcoming common challenges of job search in the more traditional marketplace.


This is not for the feint of heart.  Most job-seekers miss the accountability of time management and commitment to specific, result-oriented activities that employers instill in you.

TOP TIPS: Creating EFFECTIVE Accountability

Create a Goals Worksheet/ TEMPLATE… You’ve heard the cliché “What Gets Measured Gets DONE.” Very true for jobseekers who put themselves ‘out there’ on their own.  Work SMART at your job search PLAN…

Specific time and activity goals for each process prep and implementation step. Measurable goals so that progress can be analyzed and diagnosed  Actionable goals that allow you to ‘own’ your job search accomplishments   Realistic goals that are attainable on an average, weekly basis… and keep them Timely.

Have goals that are time-specific to keep you moving FORWARD!

  • Choose your PARTNER or TEAM Members wisely… your sense of accountability is built when you can be open and honest with each other during your scheduled sessions. There’s no room for negativity.
  • Have a set STRUCTURE of what will occur during each session. I encourage each meeting to start with a brief practice of verbal collateral, followed by a reporting of last week’s ‘numbers.’  Identify obstacles to your progress, requesting specific ‘help’ as appropriate.  Commit to next week’s numbers.  Close with an open and frank discussion aimed at removing obstacles… including action plans!
  • Keep your Group’s Membership and attendance consistent. Remember, these sessions can be effective with anywhere from 2 to 10 Members.
  • Create a hard copy binder with a tab for each Member… contents should be everyone’s tracking sheet, current resume, and a business card (several might be useful). Each Member is in this TOGETHER.
  • Generate a sense of TEAMSMANSHIP… Give yourselve’s a NAME. Create some sort of reward system for the week’s most contributive or successful Member.
  • Build EARLY SUCCESS by inviting a skilled and experienced facilitator for your first few meetings… then carry-on with a personal accomplishment of helping each other with resolution and action plans to overcome all obstacles.

Enjoy a break from job search…

Santa-peekinginRemember, y’all…

The leading cause of long job searches is lack of ACCOUNTABILITY to appropriate time management and regular implementation of productive activities.

Stay tuned for specific NEW SCHEDULING in the New Year ahead… we will be combining a weekly ACCOUNTABILITY TEAM Meeting with the topic-of-the-day.  The first session in the new year, Thursday, January 3rd, we will define the OTHER Job Market, explore some of the Careerpilot’s basic philosophies… and overview the entire 12 step Process of career transition.

Enjoy your Holiday break…Have a VERY Merry Christmas!